MLB Picks: Cubs vs. Padres Game 3

Ross Benjamin

Saturday, May 24, 2014 3:01 PM UTC

Saturday, May. 24, 2014 3:01 PM UTC

The Padres and Cubs meet tonight in San Diego, and our resident sports betting guru analyzes the matchup. Read what he had to say in that regard, and find out who his MLB free pick is in this game.

Chicago Cubs (17-28) @ San Diego Padres (21-27)
The Padres will host the Cubs on Saturday night at Petco Park in San Diego, California with the first pitch scheduled for 10:10 PM ET. According to MLB odds, the Padres are a -110 money line home favorite, and the posted total is 7.0. Tonight will be the 3rd game of a 4-game series with both teams having won a game so far. The home plate umpire will be Phil Cuzzi who's seen 20 of his last 28 in that role go 'under' the total.

Starting Pitchers
The Cubs will send lefty Travis Wood to the hill tonight. Wood has gone 4-5 in his team starts this season with a 4.61 ERA. Wood has displayed poor form over his last 3 starts posting a lofty 7.41 ERA and a 1.53 WHIP. In 4 starts on the road this season Wood has been extremely shaky in posting a large 8.01 ERA and 1.97 WHIP. On a positive note, Wood has been solid in 3 career starts at Petco Park compiling a stellar 2.75 ERA and 1.17 WHIP. Unfortunately for Wood, those efforts all went for naught, as the Cubs lost all 3 of those games.

The Padres will go with 30-year old journeymen right-handler Billy Buckner on the hill this evening. Buckner has been just called up from the Padres AAA farm in El Paso of the Pacific Coast League. Buckner has gone 3-2 in 5 starts at El Paso this season, with a very good 2.89 ERA, and 1.29 WHIP. Buckner has also pitched in the Majors for the Royals, Diamondbacks, and the Angels. He's gone 7-11 in his MLB career with a lofty 6.07 ERA and 1.61 WHIP. Buckner made 7 appearances including 2-starts with the Angels last season going 1-0 with a 4.67 ERA. Buckner has been prone to giving up the long ball in his MLB outings allowing 29 home runs in just 155 2/3 innings of work.

A Rare Offensive Explosion for the Padres
The Padres 11-1 win last night over the Cubs was the most runs that they've scored in a game this season, and was the highest output since a 12-2 win over Arizona that occurred last September 25th. Even with the 11-run and 12-hit outburst the Padres are still last in MLB this season hitting a mere .224 as a team, and have scored an anemic 154-runs on the year. Last night's win also halted a 4-game Padres losing streak. On a positive note,the Padres bullpen has been outstanding this season posting a terrific 2.17 ERA as a staff, while converting a superb 93% of their save opportunities.

Same Old Cubbies
There's no doubt that one of the most grueling tasks in all of sports is being a diehard Chicago Cubs fan. The futility of this storied franchise is unparalleled by any in Major League Baseball. Yet through it all, they maintain one of the most loyal fan bases in all of sports. This season is no different as they're off to a terrible 17-29 start to the season. Despite last night's 11-1 shellacking at the hands of the Padres, the pitching hasn't been the problem so far in 2014. Opponents are averaging just 4.0 runs per game, and hitting a paltry .243 when facing the Cubs this season. The offensive production on the other hand has left a lot to be desired. The Cubs average just 3.9 runs per game and are hitting a mild .235 as a team. They enter tonight having gone 4-2 in their previous 6, and have gone 'under' the total in 5 of those 6-games.

Final Analysis
Although Travis Wood has had success in his career at Petco Park, he's displayed recent bad form, and has really struggled badly on the road this season. The Padres will look for their recent call up Billy Buckner to just give them 5 good innings, and then turn it over to a bullpen, which has been the best in the Majors this season. I have the smallest of leans toward the home side here with my baseball pick.

Free MLB Pick: Padres -110 over the Cubs

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